Written By
Updated Jan 27, 2022 1:06 PM

Cleaning and protecting your car is one of the most rewarding things you can do for your ride. But if in the process you forget to shine your tires, you might not reach that feeling of accomplishment. Tire shine is the extra detail that ties everything together when getting your car showroom ready. Tire dressing also helps extend the life of your tires by keeping them hydrated and creating a protective barrier from the elements. Not all tire shine is the same, though, which is why we are sharing some of our favorites on the market.

Our Methodology

There are a lot of things that make tire shine products stand out. How well they protect, the shine they produce, how well they stick to the tire, and the level of protection they offer are all things to consider. Thankfully they aren’t expensive, so you can try out different brands to figure out which is best. 

Our product selections, rankings, and awards for this story are based on research. While we haven’t conducted real-world testing on all of these products yet, we’ve looked at consumer testimonials and data, tutorials, and general discussions on social media and in forums. We also consider price and specification in the context of the segment. And, of course, we rely on our institutional knowledge of the automotive landscape to weed out weak products.

Best Tire Shine Reviews & Recommendations

This tire shine doubles as a vinyl and plastic protectant. It leaves a high shine, smells pleasant, and is rather affordable. Chemical Guys is known for its top-of-the-line car care products, and it’s probably no surprise to see its shine as our top product. Extremely versatile, the protectant can be used on vinyl, plastic, and, of course, rubber. It applies easily with an applicator pad, offering total control over the product, and leaves a pleasant glossy, not greasy, shine.

It’s also a water-based product that won’t stain or sling easily, and it does have Chemical Guys’ signature touch of pleasant aroma, making it even more enjoyable to use. Despite being a versatile product from a premium name, it sits at a very competitive price point.

While this is a heavy hitter, it isn’t perfect. The formula is water based and washes away easily. Unlike many other tire shines, you will need to apply multiple coats in order to prevent it from wearing away in short order. We should also point out that it is heat sensitive and becomes very thin and difficult to work with if the bottle gets too warm.

Specs
  • Manufacturer Chemical Guys
  • Part Number TVD_107_16
  • Type Water-based gel
PROS

Safe for use on multiple parts of the vehicle

Competitive pricing

Pleasant smell

CONS

Washes away easily

Use of multiple coats is best

Becomes runny and hard to use when warm

We all love affordable products that are easy to use. Black Magic’s tire shine has a high-gloss tire shine that sprays on with the power of aerosol. It’s certainly much quicker to apply than gels or sprays from a bottle. It also has a low price, making it a fantastic option for quick touch-ups.

Despite its convenient nature, it does an excellent job of resisting the elements and is known to stick around for longer than average. But overspray can happen, and that can be an issue with a solvent-based formula, which can ruin your car’s paint. There are also quality-control issues that lead to inconsistent performance of the spray.

Specs
  • Manufacturer Black Magic
  • Part Number BC23220
  • Type Solvent-Based Aerosol Spray
PROS

Affordable price point

Easy to apply

Lasts longer than average

CONS

Aerosol difficult to control

May harm paint

Quality control issues

Premium Pick

What if you’ve got a fleet of vehicles that need a good cleaning? A 14-ounce bottle isn’t doing you any favors, so TriNova offers a gallon jug of tire shine that leaves behind a high-gloss appearance and lasts much longer than much of the competition.

It also offers a protective dust-repellent coating that will help your tire in the long run. It’s highly resistant to moisture, so you don’t need to worry about the rain washing it away on you. The price is a little steep, though, and the shine takes longer to apply because of the required 15-minute waiting period. There is no spray bottle included with the gallon.

Specs
  • Manufacturer TriNova
  • Part Number 33532
  • Type Solvent-based spray
PROS

Long-lasting supply

Highly resistant to elements

Powerful protectant

CONS

Expensive

Long application process

No spray bottle included

Lucas Oil’s Slick Mist tire shine is worth the cost of this kit alone as it leaves behind a rich, matte finish that helps a tire look as good as it did on its first day. It smells fantastic, it’s water based, easy to apply, and safe for use on trim and other black surfaces that may need to be refreshed. It also offers a layer of UV protection, which helps those surfaces stay healthy. It comes in a handy detailing pack that also includes the Slick Mist interior detailer and speed wax.

As good as the tire shine is, it’s not perfect. It does leave behind a good finish, but it doesn’t last very long. About a week’s worth of protection is average. It also does wash away easily, and the thin consistency does make it messy to work with.

Specs
  • Manufacturer Lucas Oil
  • Part Number 10558
  • Type Water-based spray
PROS

Includes other detailing sprays

Easy to apply

Unique finish

CONS

Short-lived

Washes away easily

Runny consistency

This Car Guys’ option is a heavy hitter and the only dressing to come with an applicator pad. That pad will help spread the dressing correctly to achieve the best possible results. It also comes in an 18-ounce bottle, which will last far longer than many of your other options. As for the spray itself, it’s a water-based dressing that aims to give your tires a rich satin finish. It will last for a few weeks in the right conditions and creates a protective UV barrier that keeps your tires from aging rapidly.

You can also safely use this product to refresh the faded black trim on your entire vehicle. As with most multipurpose dressings, water is the enemy. While it does resist UV rays and other elements, rain will wash it away in no time. We should also mention that photos indicate it’s glossier than we’d expect for a product that claims to leave behind a satin finish. Furthermore, the spray pattern is difficult to control, so it’s a good thing the pad is included.

Specs
  • Manufacturer Car Guys
  • Part Number 5841716230
  • Type Water-based Spray
  • Finish Satin
PROS

Application pad included

Easy to apply

Can be used on multiple parts

CONS

Washes away easily

Finish doesn’t always match description

Spray pattern is hard to control

Meguiar’s Hot Shine Tire Spray has plenty of features to like, but it’s a standout pick because of one in particular. It doesn’t only leave your tires looking their best, but the spray-on solution also protects them. This highly water-resistant formula is designed to last even through rain and regular car washes, delivering a deep, black, and glossy wet look. It features patented technology meant to help your tires look their best for longer. Plus, it also prevents problems like cracking, browning, and premature aging, all of which can make your tires look worn.

Equipped with an adjustable two-way sprayer, you can choose the spray pattern you like best. However, the nozzle can make a bit of a mess while it works. The product can also drip off your tires during application and leave behind residue on your wheel covers and metal components.

Specs
  • Manufacturer Meguiar’s
  • Part number G12024
  • Type Solvent-based spray
PROS

Safe for all tires and wheel finishes

Easy application method

Highly water-resistant to last for weeks

CONS

Can be messy

If you’re hoping to achieve a level of mirror-like shine that mimics the tires of dealership-displayed cars, Armor All Extreme Tire Shine Spray can offer exactly that. Specially formulated to create an extreme shine finish on all tires, it’s a spray-on solution that includes extra gloss enhancers to deliver a deep, extra-shiny result. Fortified with conditioners, this tire shine also helps protect your tires from signs of aging, keeping them nicely black even after many miles on the road. This product is durable enough to last a few weeks, fighting the elements like dirt, rain or water, and sunlight. And it’s easy to achieve a super wet look thanks to the spray-on application style.

For the best results, you won’t want to spray this tire shine and then immediately hit the road. It’s recommended that you wait 20-30 minutes after applying to get the best, most mirror-like results.

Specs
  • Manufacturer Armor All
  • Part number 14373
  • Type Solvent-based spray
PROS

Can last for weeks

Formulated with extra gloss enhancers

Shine appears instantly after spraying

CONS

Needs to sit for 30 minutes

Application can take practice to perfect

It’s a common issue, overspraying your tire shine and having to wipe areas beyond your tires clean after application. That’s what Griot’s Garage Black Shine Tire & Trim Coating is designed to prevent. This product can be used on your tires, your wheel wells, and surrounding trim, and it creates a durable yet brilliant glossy shine. It sprays on in a smooth, even coat to make it easy (and low maintenance) for drivers who don’t want to deal with extra cleanup. Thanks to the precision nozzle on the spray can, you’ll get minimal overspray and should see fewer missed spots overall. Because it’s water resistant, this tire shine can last weeks, even in the face of rain and multiple car washes.

Should overspray happen, this tire shine is quite dark and can be gritty to the touch. It can be messy to clean up if you miss your target. And for the best results, you’ll want to wait a day (or even two) to let it fully set before you hit the road, especially if you’re hoping to make it last extra long.

Specs
  • Manufacturer Griot’s Garage
  • Part number 10938
  • Type Solvent-based
PROS

Sprays evenly

Water-resistant formula

More controlled spray pattern

CONS

Overspray dark and gritty

Needs to sit after application

Our Verdict

The versatility and value of the Chemical Guys VRP Vinyl Rubber Plastic Protectant make it a heavy hitter. However, we do see the draw of something more affordable such as Black Magic Tire Wet Spray

What to Consider When Buying Tire Shine 

Tire shine selection is almost entirely based on personal preference since it can create different textures and appearances to match your taste. But there are certain things to keep in mind when searching for something to keep your rubber looking sharp.

Types of Tire Shine

Solvent-Based

High-gloss tire shines are typically solvent based and help the tire shine to bond better with the tire and are also water repellent. In other words, it’s not going to fade or wash away in short order. It’s critical to maintain control of this tire shine during the application, though. The harsh nature of the solvents can wreak havoc on the wheels and stain the driveway. You also need to ensure that you don’t over-apply the product, creating a situation where it slings all over your vehicle’s paint. 

Water-Based

Water-based tire shine tends to deliver a matte finish and arise far less aggressive than solvent-based formulas. Water-based products are not likely to be as harmful to other parts of your car or your driveway. In fact, some water-based shine can be used on black wheels or trim. Water and oil don’t mix, though, so water-based shine typically doesn’t bond to the tire quite as well as solvents. If you prefer the looks of this type of shine, you should expect to apply it a little more frequently, especially after inclement weather. 

Gel 

You also have the option of working with gels or sprays when it comes to tire shine. Gels are usually more affordable, but they do take more time to apply as you need to apply them to a pad or rag first. A side benefit of this process is that it offers better control over the application, helping you minimize room for accidents. 

Tire Shine Key Features

Finish 

Take the time to study the appearance of a shine you’re considering. Some glosses are shinier than others, some matte finishes are darker than the competition, so on and so forth. A little bit of homework goes a long way. Be leery of overly glossy products. There’s a difference between greasy and glossy. If the product appears to sit on the surface rather than bond to it, you can expect slinging to be a real issue.

Protection

Tires are made with rubber and even if the compound is designed for use as a tire, it’s still inherently delicate. Tires need to stay hydrated but not soaking wet, the sun wreaks havoc on rubber with its UV rays, and the elements can work against them.

Thankfully, tire shine can work to revitalize and protect our tires to a degree. Of course, every manufacturer will claim it is superior in this division. It’s worth taking the time to read up on others’ experiences with a product to get a feel for how well it actually performs.

Application

Some shine immediately bonds to the surface and is easy to spread out, while others take a little more time and effort. So, even if you’re only considering gels or sprays, you still want to read up on how easy it is to apply properly. That said, if a product is difficult to apply but does an outstanding job at protecting your tires and making them look pretty, it’s worth the elbow grease.

Tire Shine Pricing 

Tire shine products are pretty affordable. Most will cost between $5 and $10 for an 8- to 12-ounce bottle of formula. If you’re opting for a top-tier tire shine, you may pay a little more. Premium products can cost between $10 and $20. If you prefer buying in bulk so you never run out, you can also find sets of two or more bottles within the $10 to $20 range.

Tips and Tricks

Tire shine is simple, and there’s no need for us to overcomplicate the matter with a drawn-out discussion on all the little nuances that exist. Personal preference is a key player here, and the way to find the tire shine you like best is by trying different products. 

  • Tire shine is a dressing, not a cleaner. It can’t remove buildup or deposits on the tire’s surface. It also won’t bond well to a rubber surface polluted with contaminants. Take the time to scrub your tires before applying to ensure you get the best results. 
  • It’s easy to concern yourself only with what you can see. There is an inner portion of the tire, though, and it’s worth protecting. If you’re giving your wheels and tires a good cleaning, take the time to remove the assembly and give the inside edges a little attention. 
  • It’s tempting to use those blue shop rags or an old hand towel to apply tire shine, and it will work, but it’s not the best solution. Applicator pads have that name for a reason, and your best bet is to dedicate one solely to applying tire shine.

FAQs

Coverage of all the basics might not address the concerns you have. That’s exactly why we want to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about tire shines that we found on the world wide web.

Q: Does tire shine hurt tires?

A: No, tire shines won’t hurt your tires. They won’t halt aging, though; they simply slow it down. If your tires are starting to brown or crack, despite your use of tire shine, it’s usually on account of the tire’s shelf life, not a harmful product.

Q: Does tire shine prevent dry rot?

A: Tire shine does keep your tires hydrated, but it can only slow things down. Tires are made of materials that will break down and dry out over time, even if treated with care. However, proper care for the tire can keep this from occurring before you run out of tread.

Q: Can I use olive oil to shine my tires?

A: No. Do not use oil to shine your vehicle’s tires. Excessive oil use can degrade the rubber. You could also lose traction and end up in a dangerous situation. Never use oils on motorcycle tires. Some DIYers suggest all kinds of oils and other household products to give the tires a little shine but don’t take chances. Use the products specifically designed to protect and shine your tires.

Q: What happens if tire shine gets on your car?

A: Tire shine can be an aggressive formula that really seeps into the rubber of your tire. Some formulas are strong enough to strip protective layers of your paint and can even damage the paint itself. That’s why it’s important to read about each product and also apply it properly so that you don’t get it on the paint.

Q: Can I use tire shine on other parts of my car?

A: That depends on the exact product you’re using. It’s common for tire shines to serve multiple purposes. In some cases, you can use tire shine to restore trim and other black surfaces on your car.

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